NEW JERSEY – Governor Phil Murphy Friday conditionally vetoed S896, which prohibits the State Board of Education from requiring the completion of a Commissioner of Education-approved performance-based assessment as a condition of eligibility for a certificate of eligibility with advanced standing or certificate of eligibility.
The Governor’s recommendations maintain the elimination of the State’s current requirement that educator candidates pass the “edTPA” test, and move the responsibility for administering a performance-based assessment to the educator preparation programs, who can choose the most appropriate assessment for their candidates.
“I applaud the sponsors for attempting to address perceived barriers to the teaching profession, particularly as we combat a nationwide teacher shortage,” Murphy said. “I wholeheartedly agree that the current edTPA requirement for teaching candidates is counterproductive and should be eliminated, but also believe that other types of performance-based assessments can ensure that teaching candidates are ready to enter the classroom. My recommended changes, which come after months of productive discussions with stakeholders, allow educator preparation programs to select the performance-based assessment that best suits the needs of their students.”
“NJPSA applauds Governor Murphy and the State Legislature for recognizing that edTPA is no longer necessary and that the real-world experiences of student teaching serve student teachers far better,” said Karen Bingert, Executive Director of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association. “This shift both financially and professionally benefits teaching candidates, empowering teaching interns to further hone their skills in the classroom, working with students, and learning from their mentors.”
“School leaders are grateful for the support of the Governor to place assessment of prospective teachers within their preparation program,” said Dr. Richard G. Bozza, Executive Director of NJ Association of School Administrators. “This action will make the performance-based assessment more meaningful to the teacher candidate and enhance the timeline for new teachers to enter the workforce.”
“At a time when districts across New Jersey are facing an unprecedented teacher shortage, the Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools applauds the Legislature and the Governor’s action to eliminate the edTPA assessment as a requirement for teacher certification,” said Jackie Burke, Executive Director of New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools. “The removal of this costly and unnecessary burden will allow our schools to attract more candidates into the teaching profession.”
“The New Jersey Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is grateful to the legislature and Governor who have supported and acted on the legislation to remove an additional performance-based assessment, such as edTPA, as a teacher licensure requirement,” said Stacey Leftwich, President of the New Jersey Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. “The elimination of this barrier is a step in helping to remove undue stress and additional costs enabling qualified and passionate candidates to more deeply engage in their mentored clinical and induction phase of their preparation. Our nationally accredited educator preparation programs have and will continue to maintain the highest standards in teacher preparation, including the utilization of valid and reliable assessments of candidate performance. The action of the legislature and Governor may serve to further conversations and movement toward attracting and not excluding candidates eager to serve the diverse communities of New Jersey.”
“Ultimately, the bill with the Governor’s recommendations will remove a significant barrier to entering the teaching profession and help diversify the teacher workforce,” said Gene Lepore, executive director of the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities. “We are pleased to see that the Governor’s recommendations preserve the autonomy of the colleges and universities to assess the performance of their teacher candidates. This a process they engage in on an ongoing basis through classroom observations and as required by accreditation bodies; this legislation will simply eliminate an additional mandate that is costly and burdensome. We are thankful to Governor Murphy, education advocates, and legislative sponsors Senator Shirley Turner, Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli, and Assemblywoman Mila Jasey for leading the charge at a time when addressing the teacher pipeline has never been more critical.”
As passed, S896 would prohibit the State Board of Education from requiring completion of a Commissioner of Education approved performance-based assessment, including, but not limited to, the educative Teacher Performance Assessment (“edTPA”), as a condition of eligibility for a certificate of eligibility with advanced standing, certificate of eligibility, or standard certificate.
The bill further makes it permissive for educator preparation programs (“EPPs”) to require candidates to complete a performance-based assessment, but also states that these EPPs may not consider whether a candidate has completed a Commissioner of Education approved performance-based assessment when making a determination as to whether to recommend a candidate to the Commissioner of Education for certification.
The Governor’s recommendations retain the language eliminating the State Board of Education’s ability to require candidates to complete a Commissioner of Education approved performance-based assessment, including the edTPA, as a condition of certification. They further establish that EPPs must require candidates to complete a performance-based assessment as part of the program, beginning with teaching candidates who complete their EPP in the spring of 2024.
The Governor’s changes propose an approach similar to that taken by the New York State Board of Regents this past spring, which eliminated the edTPA requirement for certification and instead required that EPPs integrate a teacher performance assessment into their programs. In his revisions, the Governor also included a definition of performance-based assessment that is closely modeled off the definition used in New York.